Grant: $361,153 - National Institutes of Health - Jul. 17, 2009
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Award Description: The diversity of all living organisms is encoded within their DNA, where it is stably maintained through DNA replication, and then retrieved through transcription into RNA and translation into proteins. Thus. the di....ersity of life is limited by the four natural nucleotides that comprise DNA and RNA and the twenty natural amino acids that they encode. Drawn by the potential conceptual and practical ramifications, chemists and biologists have been fascinated by the idea of expanding the genetic alphabet (DNA and RNA) as well as the genetic code (proteins). In the previous funding period we developed the first unnatural base pair that is replicated and transcribed with efficiency and fidelity that is beginning to approach that of a natural base pair. Molecular recognition within this pair is based not on complementary hydrogen-bonding, as with the natural base pairs, but on complementary hydrophobic and packing forces, more similar to proteins. We also developed a polymerase selection system capable of tailoring the enzymes responsible for the replication of DNA to beller recognize the unnatural base pair. With these tools in hand, under the present award we will: 1) Characterize structural determinants of the unnatural pair's stability. replication, and transcription; 2) Optimize the unnatural base pair for natural like replication and transcription; and 3) Develop in vitro applications of an expanded genetic alphabet. Thus, we aim to deliver an expanded genetic alphabeUcode with biophysical and biomedical utility, as well as lay the foundation for a living organism with a semi·synthetic genome.
Project Description: As defined in Award Description field.
Infrastructure Description: NONE
Jobs Summary: Jobs retained via the funding of this project include two graduate research associates and two postdoctoral research associates. Partial funding of the PI's associate professorship is also made possible by this award (Total jobs reported: 6)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Jul. 17, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.